I am bisexual.
My family knows this. My husband knows this. Many of my friends do as well. My daughter doesn't exactly know yet, but I plan to tell her soon-- she's 11, and although I've brought her up to understand that sexuality is not a choice, and homosexuality is (or at least should be) as acceptable as heterosexuality, I haven't quite found the ideal way to tell my daughter about my own circumstances.
I'm also happily married (imagine that, my handle here is MrsGeiiga, and my husband goes by Geiiga around here). As a woman, married to a man, I enjoy the benefits of "traditional" marriage. My husband, thankfully, understands my sexuality fully. And he fully trusts me--I've never given him a reason to distrust me, and I never will. They say the best relationships are built on mutual trust and respect, but since I'd never actually had a relationship built on those pillars, I didn't truly appreciate those qualities until I met my husband. Cliché as it sounds, our marriage does transcend everything else, and I'm grateful that our relationship is recognized by all of our society as something acceptable, something ideal. It breaks my heart to think that if things had turned out differently, if I'd met and fallen in love with a woman instead, our relationship would be scrutinized, disdained, discarded, particularly here in Kansas.
Part of the reason I haven't yet told my daughter about my bisexuality is that our society has such a hard time dealing with that concept. In some ways, it's easier for me as a bisexual woman. Thanks to the prevalence of "lesbian" porn (sure, there are some fairly accurate depictions, but generally, what's called "lesbian" porn consists of fulfilling male fantasies), the idea of bisexual women is generally more accepted in our society. And yet, it's not. This same genre of porn serves to illustrate the problem with perceptions of bisexuality: women can do sexual things with women only insofar as these actions are to please men. Meanwhile, as the media buzz over Clive Davis' memoir illustrates, men who identify as bisexual are derided as being gay, but afraid to "fully" come out. Even though I am bisexual, I myself have had a hard time with accepting male bisexuality--in high school, a bisexual boy was interested in me, but my fragile ego at the time couldn't handle the idea of getting emotionally involved with a guy who might leave me for another guy. Now that I'm comfortable with my own sexuality, I know how absurd it is for me to have such a double standard when it comes to bisexual men, and I'm working to change my mindset about that.
One thing that really gets to me about the general public perception of bisexuality is that people seem to think "bisexual" means "sex addict," or "incapable of fidelity." I've had relationships with women, and when I was still single, I talked to both women and men on dating sites. Had I fallen in love with a woman, I would have happily married her and enjoyed our life together. I didn't, though. A little over a year ago, I met and instantly fell in love with my husband. I still find women attractive. It's kind of fun, actually. My husband and I both point out attractive women to each other, and it enriches our relationship. But just as I know that he's crazy about me, and wouldn't ever cheat on me, he also knows that I won't cheat on him--with a man or a woman. I greatly enjoyed the relationships I had with women--in fact, I've remained close friends with one ex, who also wound up marrying a man a few years ago. But I wouldn't trade my marriage with my husband for anything. Since he and I both know this, it's a non-issue in our relationship, but it breaks my heart to see that so much of our society doesn't understand bisexuality at all.
I'm not sure how this is for bisexual men, but for bisexual women, another issue is that many people in society tend to think that women who are bisexual are "going through a phase," or "chose" to date members of the same sex because of damage in past hetero relationships. When I started seeing my ex-girlfriend, I took my parents out to dinner and came out to them. Thankfully, both my parents were fully supportive. I'll always be grateful to them for this, because I know it surprised them. So I don't bring up this next point to complain about my dad (I love him dearly and I know the feeling is mutual), but rather to further illustrate the problematic perception of bisexuality. When I came out to my parents, they both told me they loved me and supported me no matter what--but my dad also added that he wasn't surprised I'd "try" women, after my horrible first marriage.
I was, in fact, in a horribly abusive marriage before I started dating women. My ex-husband, at very least, is mentally ill, but I highly suspect he is schizophrenic. I definitely was damaged by our marriage. But my bisexuality was ingrained in me long before that first marriage. I never consciously thought about girls or women at the time, but like most teenagers, I had many highly sexual dreams, and (unlike most teenagers) about half of them involved female classmates. I didn't "try" women because of the abuse I'd endured; I went out with women because I found myself genuinely attracted to them. Before meeting my new husband, however, most of the men I dated were physical polar opposites of my first husband. That, I'm sure, was the result of a desire to steer as clear from reminders of that relationship as possible... and those relationships wound up being intensely unhealthy. The women I dated, however, were confident and self-assured, and those relationships were far healthier, albeit short-lived.
This brings me to the next common perception, that women "try" women when they can't find a man. After all I'd been through in my life, after being married and divorced, after dating both women and men, all I knew was that I wanted to fall in love. I wouldn't have talked to women on dating sites if I hadn't seriously thought I wanted a long-term relationship with them. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with someone with whom I had mutual respect and love; I wasn't casting a wider net just for the sake of it, I knew I could spend the rest of my life with whomever captured my heart (and vice versa), regardless of their gender.
Along with this goes another misconception: that all women who say they are bisexual are only doing things with women to get the attention of men. This does happen--I've personally witnessed it. It's depressing. The women who do this, generally, are insecure and trying to spice things up with their husbands/boyfriends. When I was single, I had to specify on my dating profiles that I wasn't interested in being any couple's third wheel, because generally those scenarios involved men who wanted to watch a real life lesbian porn scene acted out in their bedrooms, and women who wanted only to help realize their husband's fantasies (Note: this is not to denigrate those who have successful polyamorous relationships--it's just not for me). As a genuinely bisexual woman, there are few things less appealing than a woman who is clearly only touching you because her husband/boyfriend wants her to.
As I've said, I am in the most satisfying, fulfilling, happy relationship I've ever experienced. What my husband and I have is rare. I still lust after women (and the occasional hot guy), but my bisexuality does not make me a philanderer. Just as a person's heterosexuality (or homosexuality) is not a determining factor in whether they will cheat, neither is bisexuality. As long as a person's needs are fulfilled, they don't feel the need to step out. My husband may not have a vagina or breasts, but even though I'm bisexual, I don't need to experience sex with both genders. Yes, my husband knows that if our relationship ever ended, I could wind up with a woman in my next relationship. But I'm immensely happy with my husband, I'm deeply in love with him, and as such, we are faithful to one another.
In many ways, I wish I didn't need to write this diary. My husband and I know where we stand, and in the end, that's the most important thing for us. But in remaining quiet about this, those of us who are bisexual struggle with unique burdens that manifest in unexpected ways. I applaud Clive Davis for coming out--he didn't really need to, but if more bisexual celebrities publicly embrace their sexuality, perhaps we as a society will come to a greater understanding and acceptance of it.
Born and raised in Topeka, my husband has wanted to do something about Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church for most of his life. If our Kickstarter succeeds, we will go on location to as many of their protests as we can, counter-protesting in amusing ways where appropriate, or somber and insightful when the situation calls for it (i.e., the funerals they picket). I'm sure as far as the Phelps family is concerned, I'm going straight to hell when I die, and so will my husband because his acceptance of me is just as damning. But if I can play a part in bringing about greater cultural awareness to bisexuality, and if I can help bring true tolerance to a place as bullied as Topeka is by the Phelpses, I will die a happy woman.
*UPDATE* Thank you everyone, for the warm reception. I was scared, now I feel even more validated. And I'm really enjoying the discussion, although I seem to miss a couple of replies here and there. I'll keep responding, we're snowed in, I've got nowhere else to go!